Have you ever been told you should patent one of your ideas? With spray paint and a few coasters ordered through eBay, Martin decked out the doors of his IKEA cupboards like LEGO bricks. Friends and family loved it.
Instead of patenting his idea, Martin is taking his product straight to the consumer.
After sharing the idea on IKEA Hacker, Martin’s idea caught some global attention. The door designs were featured in a couple books, but unfortunately he was not credited.
Although he would have liked to receive credit for his idea, Martin was excited to see that others liked it. At the encouragement of a friend who would become his business partner, Martin explored manufacturing plastic clip-on fronts for these shelves.
Have you ever stopped to consider what you and your friends might be able to accomplish by combining your skills and working toward a common goal? Many of today’s biggest companies were formed by college students including Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.
We each have a network of friends with diverse skill sets. Martin didn’t need to form the next Facebook; but Martin and his peers studying subjects like engineering, economics, product design and media science succeeded in forming their own company called “Stark Solutions.”
Now, among other things, Stark Solutions is working on a Subway delivery service in Germany, a German sausage factory in China, and colorful plastic LEGO-style fronts for Ikea furniture all over the world.
Thousands of good ideas are lost every year because people do not know how to get them developed. Taking their idea to the production department of the University of Berlin, Martin and his partner had a prototype built through the vacuum molding process. Through this process, a sheet of plastic is heated and then pressed into shape from underneath before being allowed to cool.
Before learning about vacuum molding, the team thought they would need to purchase a $25,000+ injection molding form. Instead they spent hours running computer simulations of bending and trying to break their less expensive vacuum molded plastics. They are very excited about their final high-quality product.
If you have an idea that you are excited to turn into a prototype, make sure you have the producer sign a “Non-Disclosure Agreement” (NDA) first. Although this cannot guarantee your idea will not be stolen, this document is designed to keep your concept a secret in your control until you are ready to produce it.
Tens of thousands of children (and even adults) across the globe would love to have Martin’s creation in their room. They are currently trying to fund the first QLIBs through KickStarter, but they have struggled to get the word out. If you appreciate what Martin and the QLIB team are doing, please check out their campaign and share this story with your friends!
Although they don’t yet know their path to production, Martin and the QLIB team can’t wait to see people enjoying their product. In the mean time, Martin’s daughter has the coolest book shelves in Germany!